The first of the essays included in this volume was originally published as an introduction to my edition of Niccolò Machiavelli's Prince ( Turin, U.T.E.T., Classici Italiani, Vol. XXXV, 1924).
The second appeared under the title Del 'Principe' di Niccolò Machiavelli in the "Nuova Rivista Storica" ( IX, 1925). It was later reissued as a separate volume under the same title (Milan-Rome-Naples, 1926). Here, however, I have reproduced only so much of this, the longest of my essays on Machiavelli, as concerns our author directly (viz. the first six chapters). Chapter VII, which deals with the anti-Machiavellism of the second half of the sixteenth century, is accordingly omitted.
On the other hand, the third essay, entitled Machiavelli's Method and Style and consisting of a lecture which I delivered in Florence in May, 1952, first appeared under the title "Niccolò Machiavelli" in Il Cinquecento ( Florence, 1955), included in the series published by the Libera Cattedra di Storia della Civiltà Fiorentina.
The essay on the Renaissance first appeared in 1942, under the title Il Rinascimento, in the miscellaneous volume entitled Problemi storici e orientamenti storiografici, ed. E. Como Cavalleri Rota (2nd edition, published under the title Questioni di storia moderna, Milan, Marzorati, 1948).
Although the first two essays on Machiavelli belong to a period long past, some of my friends have kindly expressed the opinion that they may still be of some interest. Since I would not wish to modify either their general design or the essential ideas and opinions which they express I have reproduced them here, save for a few minor corrections, in the exact form in which they originally appeared. Here and there